Microsoft Word has a hidden feature to create editable forms without additional add-ons. Checkbox is one of the form control elements which you can use to create a checklist in Word. A simple checklist contains a list of items with a checkbox in front of each item. There could be variations in the checkbox depending upon whether you want to print the checklist of use it online. Users should be able to check or uncheck the box while using the checklist online which is not required for printing purposes. In this article, we will explain how to create a checklist in Microsoft Word and use it for online and printing. We explain with Microsoft 365 version in Windows and Mac, though the process remains same on other versions like 2021, 2019 and 2016.
Using Checklist Templates in Word
Whether you are using Windows, Mac or online Word, Microsoft offers beautiful checklist templates which you can use without creating from scratch. The backstage screen will appear whenever you open Word to select the template. If you are already in a blank document, go to “File > New” (“File > New from Template” in Mac) menu.
Go to “New” section, type “checklist” in the search box and press enter to filter all checklist templates.
Select the checklist template and download it for your use. You can edit the template’s content and modify easily.
Most templates use images for checkboxes which works when you print the checklist and not when you want to share online with others. Also, using template is not an option when you want to insert a checklist items in your existing document. You can follow the below instructions to create custom checklist for online use and printing.
View Developer Tab in Windows Word
By default, Microsoft Word hides “Developer” tab in the menu. You should first unhide the “Developer” tab to create an editable checklist in Word.
- Go to “File” menu and click on “Options”.
- This will open “Word Options” and navigate to “Customize Ribbon” section.
- Select “Main Tabs” under “Customize the Ribbon” column and check “Developer” option in the box.
- Click “OK” button to save your changes and add the menu item in your ribbon.
Creating a Checklist with Checkbox
- Place the cursor where you want to insert checklist.
- Go to “Developer” menu and click on “Check Box Content Control” icon under “Controls” group.
- This will insert a check box in unchecked mode and click outside the check box.
- Type your text content for the list item.
- Repeat the above steps to insert multiple line items in the checklist. You can also simply copy paste the first item and edit the text to create further lines.
Check and Uncheck Items for Online Use
In Windows Word version, you can simply click inside the check box to check or uncheck. When users need to check multiple boxes, they can click on one box and use space bar to check or uncheck the box. Further, they can use tab key to move the focus to next check box easily without disturbing the text in the checklist items.
Sometimes, you may want to send the checklist with pre-filled boxes and do not want the receivers to edit them. For example, you want to send a consent form with a checklist of pre-checked items to all members working in your team. Members need to simply insert their name and date as a consent and send the form back to you. In such case, you can lock the check boxes to prevent receivers from checking or unchecking the boxes.
- Select the box and click on “Properties” option from the ribbon.
- This will open “Control Content Properties” pop-up.
- Enable “Content control cannot be deleted” and “Content control cannot be edited” check boxes.
- Click “OK” button to save your changes.
If you want to protect the entire document, click on “Restrict Editing” button, and apply the restrictions. Learn more on how to lock Word documents from editing.
Using Bullets in Printable Checklist
You do not need to worry about checking and unchecking the boxes on printable checklists. In this case, you can use custom bullet items instead of a default check box in front of each item. You can do this in two ways.
- When you are in properties pop-up, click on “Change…” button against “Checked symbol” or “Unchecked symbol”.
- This will open the “Symbol” utility and change the font as “Wingdings” from the dropdown.
- Select a symbol for your check box and click “OK” buttons to close all pop-ups to insert the selected symbol.
The other option is to create a custom bulleted list with a symbol. This method does not need to enable “Developer” tab.
- Go to “Home” tab and click on the small arrow next to “Bullets” icon.
- Select “Define New Bullet…” option and then click on “Symbol…” button in the pop-up.
- This will open the same “Symbol” utility and select a symbol for your bullets.
- Click “OK” buttons to apply the selected symbol as your new bullet.
- Create list items with the selected bullet which will look like a checklist when printed.
Creating Checklist in Word for Mac
The process is similar in Word for Mac and first you need to enable the “Developer” menu.
View Developer Tab in Mac Word
- Open Word and go to “Word > Preferences…” menu.
- Click on “Ribbon & Toolbar” icon to customize the items on your ribbon.
- Under the “Customize the Ribbon:” column on the right side, select “Main Tabs” from the dropdown.
- Scroll to the bottom and enable “Developer” option.
- Click “Save” button to view “Developer” menu in the ribbon toolbar. Note that the “Developer” menu will be added only in the ribbon menu and not in the top menu bar.
Creating a Checklist in Word Mac
- Go to “Developer” menu and click on the “Check Box” icon showing under “Legacy Controls” group.
- This will add a check box and press space or tab.
- Type your text item for the list.
- You can repeat the steps or copy paste the first checklist item and edit the text to create additional items in the list.
Check and Uncheck Items in Checklist
Unlike Windows, simply clicking on the checkbox will not toggle the checking action in Word for Mac. You need to double click on the check box to open field options. Select “Not Checked” or “Checked” option to edit the check box.
Note: Protect Form option in Mac will completely lock the document from editing.
Adding Custom Bullet Style for Printable Checklist
If you want to use checklist on printable forms or documents, then you do not need to enable “Developer” menu or use Check Box form control. All you need is to simply create a custom bullet list as explained above for Windows Word version.
We hope this article helped you to learn how to create checklist in Microsoft Word for Windows and Mac. You can use the form control check box for creating checklist for using online purposes. For printing purposes, you can simply create a custom bullet list and print the document or form. You can also add background color to document and decorate your checklist if required.